Indicators show progress: Chabane

By Drum Digital
23 August 2013

The Development Indicators Report 2012 shows South Africa has made progress in areas including education and service delivery, Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane said on Friday.

"The indicators trace the journey that our country has travelled to redress past imbalances and the progress that has been made to date," he said in a speech prepared for delivery.

"Our assessment and that of many sources of data tells us we have made great and commendable progress in a number of areas. However, challenges still remain."

On education, the report showed the percentage of matric passes increased from under 60 percent in 1994 to 73 percent last year.

Enrolment rates for the compulsory age for schooling were also excellent, Chabane said.

The percentage of children attending early childhood development facilities had increased, and Grade R enrolment rates had more than doubled from 300,000 in 2003 to 705,000 in 2011.

However, more needed to be done to get value for money and improve the quality of education. Teacher performance and school management were critical in this regard.

There were indications progress was being made in improving the country's health status.

"The tide is turning and we are achieving more positive health outcomes. This has been critical to addressing the systemic racial and socio-economic inequalities that characterised the pre-democracy era," he said.

South Africa had one of the largest antiretroviral programmes, with about two million people receiving treatment.

Data from the rapid mortality surveillance system showed life expectancy in the country had increased to 60 years, exceeding the 2014 target, Chabane said. Despite this the quality of health care remained a concern.

Economic trends in South Africa showed stability. Inflation remained within the target range, ensuring a relatively low interest rate environment.

However, data showed significant setbacks in the country's ability to reduce unemployment, poverty, and inequality.

"To address this, government has introduced public employment programmes such as the expanded public works programme and the community works programme. Through these programmes work opportunities have been created and income support has been provided to many unemployed people," Chabane said.

The data showed service delivery had improved. Compared to 1994, there had been an improvement in basic services, with 95 percent having access to water infrastructure, 83.4 percent having access to sanitation, and 76.5 percent of households having access to electricity.

However, the country faced problems with the maintenance of infrastructure in various places.

"Of the seven most critical targets, which cover access to basic services, municipal administration, and financial performance, six are unlikely to be achieved by 2014," Chabane said.

Regarding rural development and land reform, since the inception of the restitution programme in 1995, 79,696 claims had been lodged and 77,334 had been settled. Of the claims settled 59,758 had been finalised, he said.

-SAPA

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